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February 17, 2009
Daren Powell did well to survive the second evening as nightwatchman, but he wasn't expected to be around for long this morning. However, it ended up taking most of the session to remove him as he completed his longest Test innings both in terms of time and balls faced. He even started to think like a batsman, too, asking for an extra drink of water and a change of gloves. Many people have said he is better than an average of seven suggests, and he showed what can he achieved when he puts his head down.
Walk away, Stuart
Stuart Broad really should know how to behave around umpires. His dad, Chris, is an ICC match referee after all. But he needs to be careful with his appealing as he has a habit of not turning around to see the decision. It's partly youthful enthusiasm which shouldn't be knocked, but officials note these things. When he struck Brendan Nash with a yorker he was sure it was lbw and raced into his follow through and towards the wicketkeeper. Only when level with the stumps did he look at Daryl Harper, who by now was stood at mid-on. That replays showed it was hitting leg stump won't have made Broad feel any better.
Steve Harmison wasn't quite himself for most for most of the day as he struggled with heat sickness. Towards the end of his fourth over he nearly threw up at the end of his run and after chatting with team doctor, Mike Stone, he left the field. At least it wasn't quite as dramatic as when Neil Smith was sick in the middle of the pitch during a World Cup match against UAE in 1996. They really needed the sawdust on that occasion.
Get out the hockey pads
This is the sort of pitch to make a wicketkeeper cry. They are waiting to see whether the ball will climb at shoulder-height or stay down by the ankles. Matt Prior was caught out by the grubbers plenty of times, and by the time the third or fourth one shot past him (just missing the helmets, which would have been five runs) all he could do was smile - and maybe curse a bit. However, he did seem to have a bit of a problem bring his legs together quickly enough. He wouldn't have made a hockey goalkeeper, but then they do wear huge oversized pads.
Chanderpaul in a trot
Two innings without a half-century - is Shivnarine Chanderpaul in a slump? He ground his way to 20 in Kingston and although there's nothing unusual in that, the fact he didn't kick on was. Now here in Antigua he couldn't even get going, drawn into a loose drive against Stuart Broad. Bowlers the world over will be hunting down Broad's mobile phone number to ask him how he did it. Some have bowled at Chanderpaul for days on end without making an impression.
Why bother with the pitch
Ridge, what ridge? The channel on a good length made a few balls misbehave, but it didn't account for any of the wickets. That Graeme Swann grabbed five of England's scalps showed that there was more than one way to skin a cat on this surface. And for the wicket of Denesh Ramdin he took the pitch out of the equation all together. Having had Ramnaresh Sarwan caught at midwicket he threw the next one up so much it was a low full toss, which Ramdin - to his own disbelief and also Swann's - chipped straight back to the bowler. Can't blame the ridge for that.
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